At least one rocket fired from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region targeted neighbouring Eritrea Friday night, four regional diplomats told AFP, the second such attack since Ethiopia’s internal conflict broke out earlier this month.
“There was one rocket coming from Tigray that seems to have landed south of Asmara” (the Eritrean capital), one diplomat said, noting there was no immediate information available on casualties or damages.
A second diplomat said there were reports of another rocket striking a neighbourhood in Asmara, but this remained unconfirmed.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has for more than three weeks been waging a military campaign against the leadership of Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
He announced the operations November 4, saying they came in response to attacks orchestrated by the TPLF on federal military camps.
The TPLF has accused Ethiopia of enlisting Eritrean military support, a charge Ethiopia denies.
Two weeks ago Debretsion Gebremichael, the president of Tigray, claimed responsibility for rocket strikes targeting the airport in Asmara.
Those strikes exacerbated fears Ethiopia’s conflict could draw in the wider Horn of Africa region.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the TPLF for Friday’s strike, nor was there comment from Ethiopia or Eritrea.
After more than three weeks of fighting that has killed hundreds and sent tens of thousands of refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan, Abiy said this week the army was poised for a final offensive in the Tigrayan capital, Mekele, in the coming days.
Tigray has been under a communications blackout since military operations began, making claims of advances difficult to verify.
It was not immediately clear Friday night how close Ethiopian federal forces were to entering Mekele.
The international community has warned that an assault on Mekele, a city of half a million, could violate rules of war.
Earlier Friday Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, met with envoys from the African Union to discuss the conflict.
But he has so far resisted calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and talks with TPLF leaders.